Opinion: Martin Laing urges support for a blooming wonderful idea

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Let’s get behind a beautiful project
We have a letter on page 10 today praising the powers-that-be for their fantastic effort in making Oban town centre look brilliant.
And by pure coincidence, I was contacted recently by reader Maurice Wilkins who said he and a friend, Barbara Macfarlane, want to set up a Keep Oban Beautiful group.
Maurice wrote in an email: ‘Keep Oban Beautiful is the aim of local people who are passionate about Oban and who believe that the town could be an even more attractive place for residents and visitors alike.
‘We intend to support the ongoing community involvement in beautifying Oban in various ways, whether by encouraging residents to protect and plant trees, helping to look after flower beds, clearing litter from our streets, cleaning the beaches and, most importantly, getting together with like-minded members of our community.
‘Together we can make a difference.’
Maurice also wrote to me: ‘The time is right to attempt to set up a Keep Oban Beautiful group.
‘My main concern is the usual problem – rubbish. I do a lot of walking around the town and find the litter and graffiti away from the main streets quite sad.
‘I’m also very concerned with the way that trees around Oban are gradually disappearing. I hear of trees with preservation orders being felled without permission, I see trees being cut down in gardens just to broaden the view and I’m aware of many trees, particular around the Oban Hill area where I live, being chopped and butchered in a horrible way.
‘There are all sorts of other things which will be of concern to other people, such as planning issues, green issues, dangerous walls, footpaths and cycle tracks – many folk will no doubt have a favourite hobby horse. I’ve spoken to Bid4Oban and to Councillor Julia McKenzie, who were very supportive. I’ve mentioned this to a couple of people who have shown interest and I’ve spoken to Keep Scotland Beautiful, who were also very supportive.’
I have to say, I think it’s a splendid idea. There must be many residents of the town and its surrounding area who would be enthusiastic to sign up to such an excellent group.
Anyone interested can contact Maurice by email at maurice@arduaine.plus.com.
Or let me know your thoughts via the addresses at the end.
Bins collection system still rubbish
IT IS some weeks now since Argyll and Bute Council stated that the failing waste collection system was ‘back on track’. I bet the council spokesperson regrets saying that now.
As we have continued to report for months now, the three-weekly bins uplift has continued to be a problem, with many residents no longer aware of when – or if – their bins will be emptied.
Now we have the added problem of infestations of rats in a number of residential areas, with many people contacting us at The Oban Times to tell of this growing menace.
When will the council bite the bullet and admit it has got this one wrong?
Wake-up call for councillors is needed
YOU couldn’t make it up. Apparently sleeping through important meetings does not breach the councillors’ code of conduct.
It seems that making crucial decisions that materially affect people’s lives after nodding off while evidence is produced for and against applications is OK.
I bet Ann Colthart, the pensioner in Connel on the wrong end of a bad planning decision, would disagree.
What do you think?
Write to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@obantimes.co.uk.